The American Temperament Test Society, Inc. (ATTS) is a national not-for-profit organization (registered in the state of Missouri) for the promotion of uniform temperament evaluation of purebred and spayed/neutered mixed-breed dogs.
ATTS was established to:
- Provide for a uniform, national program of temperament testing of purebred and spayed/neutered mixed-breed dogs.
- Conduct seminars to disseminate information to dog owners, dog breeders and evaluators (testers) concerning dog psychology, motivation, reaction and other aspects of temperament testing.
- Recognize and award certificates to dogs that pass the requirements of the temperament evaluation.
- Work for the betterment of all breeds of dogs.
- Select, train, prepare and register temperament evaluators.
What is temperament? W. Handel, German Police Dog Trainer, in his article, “The Psychological Basis of Temperament Testing,” defines temperament as:“the sum total of all inborn and acquired physical and mental traits and talents which determines, forms and regulates behavior in the environment”
The ATTS test focuses on and measures different aspects of temperament such as stability, shyness, aggressiveness, and friendliness as well as the dog’s instinct for protectiveness towards its handler and/or self-preservation in the face of a threat. The test is designed for the betterment of all breeds of dogs and takes into consideration each breed’s inherent tendencies.
The test simulates a casual walk through the park or neighborhood where everyday life situations are encountered. During this walk, the dog experiences visual, auditory and tactile stimuli. Neutral, friendly and threatening situations are encountered, calling into play the dog’s ability to distinguish between non-threatening situations and those calling for watchful and protective reactions.
About Canine Temperament
Because of breed-specific dog legislation and negative publicity associated with many breeds of dogs, temperament testing has assumed an important role for today’s dog fancier. The ATTS Temperament Test provides breeders a means for evaluating temperament and gives pet owners insight into their dog’s behavior. It can have an impact on breeding programs and in educating owners about their dog’s behavioral strengths and weaknesses as well as providing a positive influence on dog legislation.
The following is a list of common breeds of dogs (listed alphabetically) and the percentage of each breed that PASSED the temperament tests:
**American Bulldog 85.5
**American Pit Bull Terrier 86.8
**American Staffordshire Terrier (Am Staff) 84.2
Afghan Hound 72.4
Airedale Terrier 77.7
Australian Cattle Dog 79.3
Bichon Frise 76.7
Border Collie 81.3
Boston Terrier 84.8
**Bull Terrier 91.0
Cairn Terrier 73.5
Cardigan Welsh Corgi 80.0
Cocker Spanial 81.9
Chow Chow 71.4
Dachshund (Min. smooth) 80.0
Dachshund (Std. smooth) 68.8
Dandi Dinmont Terrier 71.4
German Shepherd Dog 82.6
German Shorthaired Pointer 76.9
Golden Retriever 85.2
Great Dane 80.0
Jack Russell Terrier 84.1
Labrador Retriever 92.3
Lhasa Apso 70.4
Miniature Poodle 77.9
**Mixed Breeds 86.2
**Pit Bull (Am PBT) 86.8
Rat Terrier 76.2
Scottish Terrier 63.6
Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie) 68.1
Shih Tzu 76.2
Siberian Husky 86..9
Smooth Fox Terrier 76.4
Toy Fox Terrier 77.8
Toy Poodle 81.1
West Highland White Terrier 88.3
The above information was taken off the website of the American Temperament Test Society. The list of breeds tested is not complete ~ there are many other breeds recorded. I selected some of the more well known breeds. Breeds marked with double asterisks (**) are commonly referred to as the "bully breeds" or Pit Bull mixes as they either have or look as if they have bull dog breeding in them. These are some of the breeds most commonly discriminated against with Breed Selective Legislation. As you can see, in almost every case, the bully breeds are no more likely ~ and often MUCH LESS LIKELY to become aggressive than most of the other popular pet breeds.
So, why do Pit Bulls and other "Bully Breeds" have such a bad reputation?
Pit Bulls are a very intelligent, loyal breed of dog that also happens to be very powerful. Because of their size and strength and the fact that they so desperately want to please their owners, Pit bulls fall prey to unsavory owners who want to use them for dog fighting or guard dogs in isolated (often illegal) locations and drug rings. These dogs are frequently abused horrendously and/or neglected to the point of starvation. Some are taught to fight in order to survive. If they won't fight (a not-uncommon problem), they are either killed, starved to death or used as "bait dogs" to fuel the blood lust of dogs that have learned to kill or be killed.
By far, the vast majority of Pit Bulls are loving, goofy, eager to please canine companions. They are no more likely ~ in fact often LESS LIKELY to bite than most other breeds of dogs. Keep in mind, for many years, it was the norm for many American families to have a Pit Bull or Pit-mix that grew up with and was the constant companion of the children. Long before they became notorious because of the things that evil owners forced them to do, Pit Bulls were known as America's "Nanny Dog".
Nobody thought twice about entrusting their children with their loyal, loving Pit Bull.
But when newspapers and television started shouting out stories of savage dog fight rings and pictures of Pit Bulls, decked out in spiked colors and with blood lust in their eyes. When dog fighting became a big money business for not only low-life scoundrels, but big name stars like Michael Vick, the dark side of how all that power could be used came into view.
The Nanny Dog is now vilified by a media that always wants a demon dog breed to frighten people and LHASA-APSO BITES MAN just doesn’t sell papers. Before pit bulls it was Rottweilers, before Rottweilers it was Dobermans, and before them German Shepherds. Each breed in it’s order were deemed too vicious and unpredictable to be around people. Each time people wanted laws to ban them. It is breathtakingly ironic that the spotlight has turned on the breed once the symbol of our country and our national babysitter. (photos and this paragraph from Yonah Ward Grossman - "FOR OVER ONE HUNDRED YEARS AMERICANS KNEW PIT BULLS FOR WHAT THEY DID BEST. BABYSITTING. PART I.")
Part 2 of Mr. Grossman's series can be found HERE
Part 3 can be found HERE
Banning Pit Bulls is not the answer to preventing dog bites/attacks. Neither is dramatizing every single incident in which a Pit Bull is violent. That only feeds the paranoia. When is the last time you read about a "Sheltie" attacking someone's child? The fact is a Sheltie is MUCH more likely to bite than a Pit Bull. One just doesn't read about it in the paper. Enforcing strong regulations regarding the care, housing, licensing and supervision of ALL breeds is the way to reduce canine conflicts.Ban chaining of dogs. Any dog chained 24/7 can become unstable and aggressive. Dogs are pack animals. They NEED exercise, socialization and companionship. Stopping abuse, neglect, isolation and cracking down on anyone involved in dog fighting is the ONLY way to keep our communities safe AND give us back America's Nanny...
There's a lot more information that supports the FACT that it's not Pit Bulls that are the problem ~ any more than it's the match's problem if it is used to start a fire! It is when the wrong people get their hands on ANY breed of dog and abuse, neglect and misuse it that problems arise. Don't ban the breed ~ Ban the DEED!